by Matt Kindt, Jeff Lemire, Paolo Rivera

After months of eager anticipation, The Valiant #1 was released yesterday and I couldn’t wait to read it. Does it live up to the hyper?

For those of you new to Valiant, The Valiant is a prestige format series written by Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt, with art by Paolo Rivera pitting some of the greatest heroes of the Valiant universe against an ancient evil whose very presence ushers in some of the darkest times in human history.

As we learn from this first issue, Gilad Anni-Padda, more commonly known as the Eternal Warrior, has been battling the Immortal Enemy since time immemorial. The battles have always ended in Gilad’s failure and the Immortal Enemy killing the current Geomancer. After repeated failed attempts throughout time, Gilad decides to gather up a team of the most popular people in the world today, to protect Kay McHenry, the current Geomancer, and to put an end to the Immortal Enemy once and for all.

If I could use one word to describe this first issue it would be “exciting.” From the first panel to the last, I was deeply engrossed in the story, and even with the slightly expanded page count, this book was an extremely quick read. Lemire and Kindt are tremendous writers on their own, but it is obvious that the friendship they share in life creates the perfect synergy to bring this story and characters to life. The dialogue is exciting, and the backstory given for each character makes this book very new reader friendly, something which Valiant strives to achieve with every first issue and every new issue of an arc. This is particularly important with the introduction of Kay McHenry into this book since we have seen little of her other than in some issues of Archer and Armstrong, and even then it has been months since she has seen any action for readers of this book. Using Armstrong as the exposition method to refresh us on her background and purpose was therefore very appropriate to her character.

The other two central characters in this book, Gilad and Bloodshot, require no introduction to any fan of this universe but it was nice learning a little bit more about each. Bloodshot’s mission to recover a “package” for MI-6 offers some nice information about what the character is up to after the Armor Hunters event, and Gilad’s tale not only helps us learn about where he comes from, but also where this book will go with future issues. I was thrilled to finally have Gilad’s facial scars explained and how well that fits in with the introduction of the Immortal Enemy. Really, this is bound to be the best Eternal Warrior story ever told. The level of fan service with enough information for new readers is well-balanced and subtle enough not to annoy long-time fans.

Paolo Rivera’s art is simply beautiful. His style is uniquely gritty where it needs to be, but clean and hyper realistic when necessary. This first issue is not heavy on action but the few fight scenes are well done and highly dynamic. It’s obvious that Rivera was selecting for this book not only because of the visual impact of his art, but because of the level of emotion he pours into each and every panel and page.

Overall, The Valiant #1 is a very solid book with great characters and an intriguing story. If you’re new to Valiant, this book will serve as a perfect jumping on point to the universe with plenty back story to help you jump right in. For current fans, this book is a great platform for Valiant to showcase some of its biggest characters and lead us right into Valiant Next. If you haven’t yet, pick this book up now!

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